Tesla recently sent out media invites regarding its expected March 31st event at its Hawthorne, California facility. The tech giant promises to unveil its long awaited Model 3, the previously esoteric electric car company’s first vehicle to be accessible to standard car buyers.

Tesla has been known for its incredibly innovative, but incredibly expensive luxury electric cars. It’s a pioneer of plug-in cars and has even created entirely new business models never before utilized by vehicle manufacturers.

model xFor example, earlier this year Tesla released a software update that offered the first ever autopilot feature to be made accessible to drivers on the road. The software came out before legislation had even been produced to dictate the way it should be utilized, enabling a famous ride from Los Angeles to Manhattan in just over 60 hours. Apparently the software was used while the car was operating at around 90 miles per hour.

CEO Elon Musk has stated that he wasn’t sure to what extent he wished to reveal the car at the event, especially since it wasn’t due to hit the market until next year at the very earliest. However, the invitation seems to imply that the media will be shown the new model in its entirety.

As much as a leader as Tesla has become, it’s not actually the first car company to put out an affordable, completely electric car. General Motors surprised everyone when it came out with its Chevy Bolt, which only cost around $30,000.

Many have seen the Model 3 as a potentially make-or-break model for Tesla, which has enjoyed heavy and generally positive press but on the whole does not utilize a financially sustainable business model with its high-end, expensively produced luxury cars. The main decider of whether the company will be able to make a long-lasting place for itself in the automotive industry will be if it can make a vehicle that’s accessible to the mainstream.

For example, its more expensive models have been sold only in the tens of thousands; that means Tesla only has earned access to a tiny fraction of the pie accessed by more major automakers on an annual basis.

The 3 will depend heavily on the so-called Gigafactory for its battery development. The Gigafactory is a massive battery manufacturing facility under construction in the Nevada desert. Tesla states that the facility will reach its peak manufacturing capacity sometime in 2020.

spacexThe Model 3 is expected to cost somewhere in the arena of $35,000 before tax breaks, making it competitive with the Bolt but still slightly more expensive (the Bolt costs somewhere around $30,000). Considering the Model S and Model X cost upwards of $100,000, the model will constitute a major change in the sense of accessibility of the Tesla brand. Both models will offer a 200-plus mile of range on a single charge, making it considerably more practical than the more typical sub-100-mile cars that have dominated the market.

Tesla’s Hawthorn facility is located directly next to its famous SpaceX headquarters, so how many people it will actually be able to pack into its media frenzy will be interesting.

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